As I have stated in previous articles here on SurvivorPoolPicks.com, my strategy for Survivor Pool success is to fade bad teams. The last couple seasons I have targeted teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars and Washington Redskins and tried to make my picks on these teams’ opponents whenever possible.
There is a lot of parity in the league this season, and I don’t think there are going to be any clubs that will threaten the 0-16 mark. Actually, I don’t see many teams that will be really bad. I think some of the traditional patsies will be better and that, like every season, there will be a couple playoff contenders that will underachieve. This is going to be a tough season for Survivor Pool players, but that is good for those of us that do our homework.
In this article I will identify some teams that I expect to be lousy and look at their early-season schedules to try and find some good spots to pick against them.
This team was lousy last year and is now breaking in a rookie QB, No. 2 pick Marcus Mariota from Oregon. This is going to be a pretty bad team. Actually, I think this team will have the worst record in the league and will be in a position for another top draft pick.
However, their schedule does not allow for many spots to fade them early in the season. They start off with two road games, but those are against two of the other teams on this list, Tampa Bay and Cleveland. Then their next four games are at home, all against playoff contenders. I normally try to fade teams that are on the road, but there will likely not be a good spot to fade the Titans until Week 8 and 9 matchups against Houston and New Orleans, respectively, and, who knows, Mariota might start to play better by mid-season.
While I think the Jaguars will be better this season, this will still be a good team to fade as this squad has won only seven games the last two seasons, and they aren’t going to transform into a Super Bowl contender overnight.
Even though they have a home-heavy early-season schedule, there are some good spots to go against this team early in the season. Weeks 3 and 4 they will play at New England and Indianapolis, respectively, and there is a good chance that they will be getting double digits in each of those games on the point spread. Especially if Tom Brady’s “deflategate” suspension gets reduced to two games, as expected, I will probably be fading the Jags in one or both of these games. Overall, seven of their first nine games are against teams I consider playoff contenders, so this will definitely be a good team to fade.
It’s obvious to everyone except the Redskins management that Robert Griffin III has not worked out, but here we go with another season with him under center. Hey, I like the guy personally and think he might be able to thrive in a different situation, but his tenure in the nation’s capital has become toxic. He doesn’t have a ton of weapons around him, and the defense is lousy.
There won’t, however, be many spots to fade them early in the season. They have a pretty easy overall schedule. They play three of their first four games at home. Their three road games in the first seven weeks of the season (at New York Giants, Atlanta and New York Jets) are all winnable as that list of teams isn’t exactly a murderer’s row. I actually think the Giants will be pretty good this season, so that is a potential fade spot in Week 3. But other than that there is not a real good spot to go against them until Week 9 at New England, and I’m sure I will have used the Pats by that point in the season assuming I’m still alive in my pool.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This team is also breaking in a rookie QB, and Jameis Winston, the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, will probably start from Day 1. This team will probably struggle until Winston gets his feet underneath him, but the Bucs have a very easy schedule and play in the worst division in football, which should have them in the playoff mix all season even with a bad record.
There are a couple spots to fade this team early in the season, however. Weeks 2 and 3, at New Orleans and Houston, respectively, look promising. I expect the Saints to be much stronger than last season, and Houston looks to have one of the best defenses in the NFL and a strong running game. Besides those two games, however, there aren’t going to be a lot of good spots to fade this team early in the season.
Cleveland has a nasty defense, but their QB situation is basically in shambles. They also have a pretty tough schedule as they play in one of the stronger divisions in football with the other three teams; Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Baltimore; all legit playoff contenders.
I may be fading the Browns right at the start of the season in Week 1 as they play at the Jets. I think New York is a better overall team with a more stable QB situation (citing Geno Smith as a stable QB situation shows how bad the Browns are at QB). I think they will be better this year, so that is one possible fade spot. They also play at San Diego, Baltimore, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in the first 10 weeks of the season as well as home games against Arizona and Denver. I would probably take any of those teams against Cleveland. This team may not be the worst on this list, but they have the most manageable schedule for fading purposes, especially early in the season.